Harvard, Geography and GIS: A Race to the Top (Geoplace)

By Nigel Waters

Nigel Waters is president of Glyes Solutions, a GIS consulting company based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He can be reached via e-mail at Email Contact.

The December 2003 “Edge Nodes” column (see “What Can GIS Do to Save Geography?”; www.geoplace.com/gw/2003/0312/0312ends.asp) discussed the fortunes of academic geography departments. It was suggested that the trend toward closing university geography departments, which began with the loss of Harvard’s geography department in 1948, might now be reversed because of the prominence of GIS and geographic information science (GIScience).

The column concluded by noting that, at his 50th reunion, Carleton Coon, an alumnus of the class of 1948, had issued a clarion call to his alma mater to “reinstitute geography at Harvard!” It now seems that Coon might just get his wish.

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